But three Jews refused to do so. When everyone else bowed down they simply paid no attention.
King Nebuchadnezzar didn't like that and ordered the three men to be brought before him. He told them that he would give them one more chance to bow down and worship his statue and that if they refused they would be put in the blazing furnace. He taunted them by asking, "What god will be able to rescue you?"
Could you imagine such a threat? Being burned to death because you wouldn't bow down to a golden statue - it just sounds awful, doesn't it?
The three Jews - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - showed no fear though. They were very firm in their response...
Daniel 3:16-18Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were stellar examples of faith! And it was in this passage that I really felt God speaking to me today.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
What really stood out in the passage was the part that says, "But even if he doesn't."
There these three were, threatened with death in a horrifying way, and they held firm to their faith that God would save them - they knew that God would be there for them no matter what. Even more, they knew that it would be His will and His will only that would save them. Even if He didn't, it would be ok because that would be God's will. No matter what - whether God chose to let them die or live - they would never bow down to any other god.
They would never bow.
As the story continues we read that the king did put them in the furnace and God did save them. Afterwards, the king realized that the three men truly served and amazing and awesome God and he exalted them saying, "They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God." (Daniel 3:28)
It occurs to me that many lose faith when pressed with times of trouble. It also occurs to me that there are many "golden statues" all around us. The idols of today seem to be hidden in every crevice. At every turn there is something stealing our focus and calling us to bow down to it rather than to serve the One true Lord.
And when times seem rough, or when there is something we desperately want and we cry out to God asking, "Please, oh please, Father, make it so," and He answers with a NO it is so easy to turn to something else - to bow down before something else - and lose our way.
But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego offer us an example of faith - given to us by God - as to what we need to do in those situations. We need to stop and say hey, even if He doesn't allow this or even if He doesn't make it all better I will still follow Him.
I will never bow.